Polk County will move to “moderate risk” following drop in new Covid cases

Two people walk down Edgewater Street Northwest in West Salem on May 15, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Polk County businesses can have more people inside starting Friday, June 4 following a decline in the number of new Covid cases among residents over the past two weeks.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday Polk County would move to “moderate” Covid restrictions because of the decline. That means restaurants can operate at 50% indoor capacity or up to 100 guests, rather than the current cap at 25% capacity. Gyms, indoor fitness facilities and indoor entertainment venues can operate at 20% capacity or 100 people inside, whichever is larger. Retail stores could have 75% capacity inside, up from 50%.

The county recorded 83 new Covid cases among residents during the two weeks ending May 29, according to Oregon Health Authority data. That gave Polk County a rate of 99 new Covid cases per 100,000 residents, just under the state threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 residents needed to lower the risk level.

Marion County is also seeing declines in new Covid cases, recording 617 new Covid cases in the previous two weeks. That’s a rate of 176.7 new cases per 100,000 residents, down from 253.5 cases per 100,000 residents from May 2 to 15.

Brown said she will end the assignment of county risk levels and lift nearly all Covid restrictions in Oregon once 70% of adults have received at least a first dose of Covid vaccine. As of Tuesday, the state stands at 65.8% of eligible adults vaccinated.

Individual counties can move to “low risk” restrictions earlier if they submit a plan for closing vaccination gaps and hit 65% of eligible adults who have at least one dose of Covid vaccine.

As of Tuesday, Marion County is at 56.8% of adults with at least one dose of Covid vaccine, up from 54.8% one week ago, according to state data. To meet the target, 22,367 people still need to get a vaccine.

Polk County is closer, with 61.8% of adults vaccinated, up from 60.3% one week ago. It needs 2,141 adults to get a shot to meet the target.

-Rachel Alexander